I have struggled with who and what I am for many years. Throughout my childhood my mother would ask me why I was trying to be different, and I would say that I wasn't, I was just trying to be me.
But as I grew older, I tried more and more to fit in, no more sitting on top of the shelves in the room. Sensible jeans and shirts, no more cowboy boots. Sitting quietly in groups instead of asking the questions I want to ask, making the points I want to make, saying the things I want to say.
And it's worked. People don't realise how incredibly difficult I find group situations. They don't notice that they spend a week with me and somehow we don't actually talk. And I come home ready to explode with the tension of the situation, bubbling over with all the things I haven't said or done or been.
It's probably time to change. Time to work out how to find the space to be me. Time to squeeze back a little so that people realise how much I'm being squashed.
Why should I bother, now, so many years into my life?
Because if I don't push back, I won't make room for the next generation to be themselves. They will be just as squashed, and unheard, and unhappy. And that just isn't fair.